Healthy lifestyle habits may help reduce risk of Alzheimer's
It's estimated that 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and the numbers are growing. Now new research shows there may be some things you can do to lower your risk of developing the disease.
Looking through photo albums means a lot to Kristen and Glenn Hemanes. Kristen's father recently passed away from Alzheimer's disease.
“It's draining for the families and it’s just such a debilitating disease for everybody,” Kristen says.
Her husband, Glenn, also lost his grandfather to Alzheimer's.
He says, “Its one of the worst things to experience because you lose that connection with somebody.”
With a family history, the couple wants to try to lower their chances of developing the disease.
Now new research from the Alzheimer's Association International Conference suggests adopting four or five healthy lifestyle practices may reduce risk for dementia by 60%.
The study focused on healthy diet, moderate to vigorous physical activity, not smoking, light to moderate drinking, and engaging in activities that stimulate the mind.
Dr. Maria Carrillo is the chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association. She says, “These are things that everybody can do every day.”
A separate study shows healthy habits may counteract a person's genetic risk for dementia. Researchers looked at people that have the same genetic risks but different lifestyles.
Dr. Carillo says, “People that had a healthy lifestyle actually had less chance of developing dementia. That's really exciting, because it means there is something you can do today even to overcome what you've inherited.”
Kristen and Glenn are already eating right and getting plenty of exercise.
“I think it’s definitely one motivator of many that motivates me to stay healthy,” says Glenn.
They plan to keep making good lifestyle choices for both body and mind.